September 30, 2020

Elzhi "Seven Times Down Eight Times Up" (Album Stream)

Here's the press release for the new LP from Elzhi: "Elzhi, the “Syllable Sensei,” is back again with a highly anticipated release titled “Seven Times Down Eight Times Up,” This 12-track LP is a collage of memories and metaphors layered atop beats crafted by up-and-coming producer JR Swiftz. With collabs from Detroit artists, Monica Blaire and Fes Rock on two of the albums stand-out tracks, Elzhi’s new masterpiece showcases his ability to create meaningful concepts while Detroit’s own comedian and “Real Hip Hop Advocate” Foolish provides commentary throughout the album. As one of Elzhi’s most cohesive releases to date, his wordsmithing abilities paint images of royalty, excellence, and zombies wearing Gucci, all with an underlying message of resilience. “Seven times Down Eight Times Up” is the mantra for a year that has seen lots of “downs,” and reminds us that no matter what we're faced with, we will remain undefeated, and get back up after being knocked down by this machete-wielding maniac we call “life.” Elzhi is one of my favorite lyricists and Seven Times Down Eight Times Up is a solid project - sans some sequencing mistakes. Dig into it below...

September 29, 2020

Wojavelli "98 Live" (Mixtape)

Wojavelli hits us with another exclusive mix, this time around it's 98 Live - a continuous mix of the hottest hip-hop from the '98 era! In his own words, "from jiggy to the streets to the underground, featuring hits, classics, rarities and blends! Some selections from this mix includes tracks by Noreaga, Eminem, Sauce Money, RZA, Gennessee, Jay-Z, M.O.P., Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Black Rob, Jadakiss, DMX, Big L, Kool G Rap, The Firm, Mos Def, Tragedy Khadafi, and a lot more! Dig in below...

September 28, 2020

Kool G Rap "4, 5, 6" (25th Ann. Mix by DJ Filthy Rich)

Here's another classic anniversary mix from the homie, DJ Filthy Rich, who shares the following message along with his new mix: "This album is so underrated. Kool G Rap's earlier work with DJ Polo is without a doubt the cornerstone of his catalog, but this album is right up there with them. He switched things up by working with a team of producers, and Kool G Rap admits this is the first time he felt like a true artist. Not one skippable track, and crazy production from Buckwild, T-Ray, Dr. Butcher & Naughty Shorts. CLASSIC. If you think differently, listen to the mix and tell me I'm wrong." Dig into the mix of album cuts, samples and blends below. Props to Filthy Rich and G Rap...

September 27, 2020

Selecta Bam Bam "Old Skool Buttas, Pt.2" (Mixtape, 1997)

Another fire dancehall-hip-hop (ragga) mix tape from Selecta Bam Bam. This is Old Skool Buttas Pt.2. The original was released on cassette back in '94, I believe? This mix was '97 and included tracks from Rayvon, Patra, Bounty Killer, Shabba Ranks, Ini Kamoze, Nardo Ranks, Beenie Man, Mad Lion, Capleton, Super Cat, Lil Vicious, Buju Banton, and dope blends, too. One of a few DJs that really pushed the Ragga culture to the forefront on mix tapes in the mid-90s. Dig into this mix below...

September 26, 2020

J​.​PERIOD Presents "The Live Mixtape" (Dilla Edition)

J.PERIOD is back with another edition of The Live Mixtape: this time he pays tribute to the late great J.Dilla. The mix was recorded live and features original remixes, edits and classic records from the Dilla catalog. You'll also hear features from Nas, Black Thought, Big Pun, Cuban Link, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Mos Def, The Roots, Slum Village, Da Bush Babees, Common, Mobb Deep, J5, John Legend and more! You can stream the full mix below, or download the track-by-track version over at Bandcamp. Choose your poison, but be sure to dig into it below... Rest In Peace, James Yancey.

September 25, 2020

Ill Conscious "The Epic of Gilgamesh" (EP Stream)

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the new 7-track collaborative EP from Baltimore's Ill Conscious and West Coast producer Aloeight. The EP features Estee Nack, DJ Grazzhoppa, Planet Asia, Omnia Azar, King Los, Eligh and Myea. I know Ill Conscious was working on a new LP, but read on his social media that he had lost his rhyme book, which is a damn tragedy. At the same time, I appreciate MCs who write their lyrics down on paper, giving it that tangible feel and it's clear from his rhyme style that he has golden era sensibilities. Ill can rhyme, man. This is another solid project in a ever-growing catalog, dig into it below and when this pandemic is over, make sure you catch one of his live shows...

September 24, 2020

Reflection Eternal "Train of Thought" (Vibe, 2000)

When it comes to wholesome heartfelt rap, it doesn't get any more idealistic or sincere than the work of Talib Kweli and his producer/partner, Hi-Tek. The duo has secured a place in New York's underground scene as hip-hop's quiet conscience. After a string of successful singles, like "Fortified Live" and "The Manifesto," and Kweli's collaborative LP with Mos Def, Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star, Kweli and Hi-Tek have finally finished their thorough debut platter, Reflection Eternal. Produced mainly by Hi-Tek, the album oscillates between the sublime neo-soul sounds popularized by Jay Dee and his Soulquarian brethren and faster, more dynamic neck snappers. "Too Late" exemplifies the former with its syrupy guitar licks, pleasing record hits, and complex percussion. Hi-Tek ups the ante on "Down for the Count," which cracks with marching-band intensity. Aided by strong performances from Xzibit and Rah Digga, Kweli slaps sucka MCs with his clever battle rhymes. The LP peaks with "Soul Rebels," a surprisingly funky, up-tempo collaboration with De La Soul that showcases some awesome wordplay. Reflection Eternal's great weakness is Kweli's excessive preaching about the state of hip-hop, but at least he cares. Perhaps he'll be able to make a few others care too. - Vibe (December, 2000). The LP was released on 10/17/00, revisit it below...

A copy of the album review in Vibe Magazine (12/00) is below...

September 23, 2020

What Had Happened Was "Native Tongues Episode" (Podcast)

On the latest episode of the What Had Happened Was Podcast, Prince Paul tells Open Mike Eagle the story of the quick rise - and confusing fall - of the greatest rap collective of all time, the Native Tongues! Are you not entertained?!?! lol. I haven't listened to this one YET, but the title alone got me intrigued - especially after Prince Paul's humorous reaction to not being on the cover of A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders in the Beats, Rhymes & Life documentary in 2011, lol. I trust it's another entertaining episode, so tune into it with me below. Hit the tags for all episodes.

September 22, 2020

Cut Beetlez "What Beetlez?" (Album Stream)

The Cut Beetlez are a DJ/producer duo from Finland that consists of HP Lovescratch and J-Man. Their 15-track offering - entitled What Beetlez? - features some of the underground's greatest lyricists, like The Good People, Rah Digga, Guilty Simpson, El Da Sensei, J-Live, Reks, Sounsci and more. Nice breaks and b-boy-influenced production are the backdrop, and sharp cuts are thrown in for good measure to round out a project that hip-hop purists are sure to enjoy! Dig into it below...

September 22, 2020

DJ Rei Double R & G-Bo The Pro "Tape #11" (Mixtape, 1991)

Tape #11 was released around 1991-1992, by the infamous duo of DJ Rei Double R & G-Bo The Pro. The mix tape features now-classic tracks from artists like Cypress Hill, House of Pain, KRS-One, D-Nice, Fu-Schnickens, Das EFX, Rakim, Naughty By Nature, Heavy D (R.I.P.), Black Sheep and more on the A-Side. Flipping it over, the B-Side features a nice blend of dancehall and reggae tracks from Sister Nancy, Super Cat, Cutty Ranks, Tenor Saw, Junior Cat, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Louie Rankin, and lots more. This wasn't my favorite tape from DJ Rei Double R & G-Bo The Pro, BUT it's still got a solid mix of hip-hop and dancehall on it. You should definitely dig in the archives for more tapes.

September 21, 2020

Terror Squad "Terror Squad" (Vibe, 1999)

"It's hard not to root for Fat Joe. The Bronx, New Yorker spent years as an underground rap underdog before discovering a fellow borinqueno heavy-weight. With verbal skills as massive as his body, Joe's find, Big Pun, debuted in 1998 with the platinum-selling Capital Punishment (Loud). Riding the wave of momentum supplied by his protege, Joe finally struck gold with his third try, Don Cartagena (Atlantic, 1998). Now as his crew, Terror Squad (Joe, Pun, Cuban Link, Prospect, Triple Seis, and Armageddon) release their self-titled full-length, the MC/entrepreneur is once again banking on his eye for talent to pay dividends. Big Pun, rapping and singing, shines over the tasty violins and face-pounding drums of "Whatcha Gonna Do?" Bolstered by a creepy, hollow-sounding piano, "Bring It On" features Fat Joe going for dolo in vintage form: "Come at us if you're ready for war / Whoever you are / Leave you dead in your hall / Leaking red on the floor." Unfortunately, such stellar moments are few. By mid-album, many of the tracks start sounding the same -- a betrayal of the lesser-known Terror Squadians' distinctive flows and charismatic Latin linguistics. Let's hope Joe and his compatriots change production teams before coming out with solo efforts. If not, we'll be calling them the Not-So-Scary Crew." - Vibe (November, 1999). Rest In Peace, Big Pun.

Do you agree or disagree with Elliott Wilson's review in Vibe?

September 20, 2020

Roc Marci + Griselda + Freddie Gibbs + Black Thought (Mix)

Another dope compilation-mix from HHIR: this time a rap supergroup was created (because he felt like it!) just in time for autumn and hoodie season. The rap supergroup? Roc Marciano, Griselda Records (Westside Gunn, Benny The Butcher, Conway The Machine), Freddie Gibbs & Black Thought. Man! Well played, sir. The mix runs through several tracks from each artist with some additional features thrown in for good measure. Don't hesitate, just click play... you know what to expect!

September 19, 2020

GQ & 9th Wonder "A Midsummer's Nightmare" (EP Stream)

JAMLA's GQ drops off his latest EP, A Midsummer's Nightmare, produced entirely by 9th Wonder. The Oakland rapper is also known for winning a national championship with UNC Tar Heels in 2005 (according to Shake). I did know that! To elaborate more on the EP, GQ shares, "A Midsummer’s Nightmare, ironically symbolizes the time we’re in as a country and world. But also defines the thoughts and moments of myself at this moment in my life. Almost like living a world within a world. Beyond being inspired by the music itself, the inspiration came from life itself and just my current mental space. It’s always fun and an honor to work with 9th. So to do an EP with him was special.” 

September 18, 2020

Wojavelli "The Best Of Alchemist" (Mixtape)

The Best of Alchemist mixtape features roughly two and a half hours of the best of Alc's first 10 years of hits, deep cuts and original blends by Wojavelli out in Philly. The Alchemist's extensive catalog is represented with cuts featuring Mobb Deep, Cormega, Nas, Capone-N-Noreaga, Jadakiss, Kool G Rap, Ghostface Killah, and lots more. Need I say more? Dig into Wojavelli's ALC mix below...

September 17, 2020

2Pac "Dead, But Still a Force" (9/17/06)

"I want to be in the future known as somebody," Shakur once said. "I want people to be talking about me, like, 'Remember when he was real bad?'" They're still talking. Unlike so many other rap stars, Shakur represented an actual character, instead of a caricature. "His messages were really strong and heartfelt, and he was a real person. He could go from saying 'Keep your head up' to using the word b--- in the next song," said Kanye West. "There was no box that he was put in, and he lived and died by what he said." Although just 25 when as assailant sprayed his car with bullets as he rode shotgun down a Las Vegas street, Shakur has been the subject of numerous books; film and stage productions have explored his colorful life; and college courses have dissected his songs, ranging from the player anthem "I Get Around" to the prophetic "How Long With They Mourn Me?" But why? Although some have anointed Shakur as the greatest rapper ever, largely due to his passion that could stir even casual listeners, the assessment is hardly universal. Others would give that title to The Notorious B.I.G., Shakur's foil who was killed months after Shakur. Others say Jay-z reigns supreme.... While other dead celebrities are celebrated as nostalgia acts for what they once represented, Shakur remains a vital presence in today's rap world. - 9/17/06 ... Continue reading below, and consider who is the G.O.A.T.... to YOU? Rest In Peace, Tupac Shakur. Hit the tags for more.

September 17, 2020

Buckwild "Music Is My Religion" (Album Stream)

If there was an award for Most Accurate Album Title of 2020 then I’d go ahead and give Buckwild the prize for “Music Is My Religion.” For over 25 years music is all Buckwild has been known for. He’s not your favorite rapper - he’s the man behind your favorite rapper. Like Flee Lord says on the album’s title track, “Buck on the beats got ’em standing on they seats.” He’s quietly repped D.I.T.C. through four different decades. You don’t hear bullshit from Buckwild. He doesn’t do interviews complaining that he’s not acknowledged as one of the all time greats, dissing other producers, saying that he’s being low balled when people want to buy his beats. Buckwild just puts in the work, you to nod your head to it, and that’s that. - Rap Reviews. Listen to the album below...

September 16, 2020

Joe Budden "All Of Me" (Blend, 2010)

One of the greats at unconventional song structure and transparency on record, Joe Budden delivered "All Of Me" on his Mood Muzik 3 mixtape project in 2007. Fans recognize Joe's Mood Muzik series as some of the best content in his entire catalog and certainly put him on a short list of artists who really pushed the artist-mixtape culture forward. In 2010, Aerichk uploaded a project to DatPiff blending the vocals of Joe Budden's Mood Muzik 3 with some of his favorite beats from Kno of CunninLynguists. The idea for the project was well-intentioned, but some of the tracks worked better than others. One, in particular, is "All Of Me," which you can hear below. This is vintage Joe in his wordplay, storytelling and vulnerability on the record. The eery production of Kno works flawlessly, even with the song clocking in at around 7 minutes. "I think my life's bad, picking up the pieces / Some folk already got they appointment to see Jesus / In this world full of diseases I've learned not to bite my tongue or have seizures / Depression tells me I suck / So I reply, I ain't here 'cause I fell down, I'm here 'cause I got up...." If you wanna hear more, download "Death Muzik."

September 16, 2020

Conway The Machine "From King To God" (Album Stream)

Having already dropped No One Mourns the Wicked with Big Ghost and LULU with Alchemist, Conway The Machine is back with his third release of the year, a full-length album, From King To A GOD. “Typically, when I create an album, I tend to focus on being the best rapper and having the best bars. With From King To A GOD, I wanted to show growth; how much I’ve grown as an artist and how much I’ve grown as a man,” Conway said in a statement.  “I wanted to showcase versatility and show people that I’m not a one trick pony. I feel like this album is not only arguably one of my best albums ever, but it is also the perfect appetizer to get my fans ready for my Shady debut God Don’t Make Mistakes.” A 15-track offering, FKTG is led by the singles “Lemon” and “Fear Of GOD.” Meanwhile the likes of DJ Premier, Khrysis, Westside Gunn, Benny The Butcher, Freddie Gibbs, Method Man, Havoc, Lloyd Banks, Dej Loaf, Alchemist, Daringer, Erick Sermon & Hit-Boy contribute throughout. - 2DBZ. One of the most prolific artists of this generation, and it's all quality! Dig in...

September 15, 2020

DJ Shok Presents "Hi-Tech's Golden Era Singles" (EP Stream)

Here's the first ever anthology release of Yonkers MC Hi-Tech's golden era 12" joints. The release includes 8 tracks, along with the instrumental versions. The production is handled by DJ Shok and Jay Biz and will be available on 2LP vinyl, CD, cassette and digital. If you've been following the blogs over the years going back to my very first site, I've been pushing Hi-Tech's music and DJ Shok's classic production for years. "4 Degrees For The Streets" is still one of the best B-side tracks to come from the underground, independent scene in the 90s, but you'll also recognize "24/7," "Book of Life," "All Time Einstein" and more as well. Big ups to DJ Shok, who has a dope catalog you should already be familiar with. Pick up a copy of this limited release and check Tech's technique below...

September 14, 2020

DJ Evil Dee "Last Day Of School, First Day Of Life!!!" (Mixtape, 1995)

Another throwback mix tape from DJ Evil Dee... this is 1995's Last Day Of School, First Day Of Life!!!, via Tape Kingz. The mix tape features tracks from Rakim, Special Ed, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Pudgee The Phat Bastard, Heather B., Organized Konfusion, PHD, Naught By Nature, Lin Que, Lost Boyz, Redman, Masta Ace, Erick Sermon, Mad Skillz, Mad Lion, Das EFX, Big Kap, Finsta Bundy, Craig Mack, Lady Apache, and more. DJ Evil Dee adds, "This tape was done in one take. DJs should keep it real." Enjoy...

September 13, 2020

The Notorious B.I.G. "Ready To Die" (9/13/94)

"...Though many rappers exaggerate about the lives they led before becoming performers, some are actually former drug dealers. Few have ever been as open in detailing their criminal past as Biggie Smalls, and none have ever been as clear about the pain they felt at the time. "He doesn't want anyone to see that he's not as tough as he thinks he is," said Ms. Wallace, the rapper's mother. "He cries inside. He bleeds inside. But he doesn't want anyone to see the vulnerable side of him." "Ready to Die" is, indeed, marked by pathos unusual not only in hip-hop but in pop music. "In street life you're not allowed to show if you care about something," said Mr. Combs, of Bad Boy Entertainment. "You've got to keep that straight face. The flip side of that is his album. He's giving up all his vulnerability. He's letting you know how he has felt about his mother. He's letting you know how he cried. How he has thought about killing himself." Though drug dealing carries tremendous heroic value with some young urban dwellers, he sacrifices the figure's romantic potential. His raps acknowledge both the excitement of drug dealing and the stress caused by the threat from other dealers, robbers, the police and parents, sometimes one's own. In presenting the downside of that life, "Ready to Die" offers perhaps the most balanced and honest portrait of the dealer's life of any in hip-hop. "He's trying to enlighten people to the way your mind thinks when you're broke, when you're young growing up and not feeling like nobody cares about you," Mr. Combs said. Cont'd below...

On "Everyday Struggle," for example, Biggie Smalls rhymes: "I know how it feel to wake up . . . / Pocket broke as hell/ Another rock to sell/ People look at you like you's the user/ Selling drugs to all the losers/ Mad Buddah abuser/ But they don't know about your stress-filled day/ Baby on the way/ Mad bills to pay/ That's why you drink Tanqueray/ So you can reminisce/ And wish/ You wasn't living so devilish." By expressing the self-loathing and self-doubt he felt while dealing, he hopes that his experiences may resonate with other living that life. "I want them stressed-out n!@@ers to be, like, 'Yo, this n!@@er be hitting it right on the nose, man,' "he said. "That's what I'm trying to do." And he added, venting those feelings was also therapeutic. "I got a lot off my chest with that album." And he has put a lot in his pocket. Next month he will move his mother from the apartment in which she has lived for 25 years and into a house in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. But despite new-found economic independence and the fear he feels while sitting in his own home, he is reluctant to move. "I could never see myself moving in the suburbs," he said. "It ain't going to be right, and the lyrics are going to be soundin' nasty. I know it. There won't be nothing to rap about except the birds." - NY Times (12/18/94). Full story can be read HERE.

September 12, 2020

Reks "T.H.I.N.G.S." (Album Stream)

On his twelfth studio LP in nearly 20 years, Reks sounds just as hungry and passionate on T.H.I.N.G.S. (The Hunger Inside Never Gets Satisfied) as he did when Along Came The Chosen dropped back in 2001. Perhaps even more so. There seems to be a fire that gets lit under the Lawrence, MA native whenever he begins crafting a new LP. “While my conceptualizing process has grown over the years, the actual approach to getting started has remained consistent,” Reks says. “There’s a youthful eagerness that comes over me every time I’m about to start a new record.” That feeling is palpable throughout T.H.I.N.G.S., an album bursting with everything you’d want from a Reks record, but also so much more. There are certainly instances of his trademark wordplay mixed with bravado on here, like the Apollo Brown-produced track “King of the Town.” But the real core of this record is Reks’ reckoning with bigger societal issues that have simply run rampant for far too long. And given his talents with the pen, he’s able to blend strong songwriting with deep, conceptual lyrics. Just listen to how he tackles white privilege on the otherwise catchy “Rachel Green” or the way he chronicles being Black in America on “White House.” That’s not even mentioning “The Complex,” a lyrically gripping look at PTSD and Big Pharma featuring Pharoahe Monch, and his personal favorite track, “Nana & Grampy’s Song,” a heartfelt dedication to Black love. For Reks, it’s all about delivering the best possible music to his fans while staying true to himself. And he does exactly that not just through his own gifts, but also through collaborations with Pharoahe, Lil Fame, Nottz, Apollo Brown, Statik Selektah, Evidence, Marco Polo, and more.

September 11, 2020

Jay-Z "The Blueprint" (September 11, 2001)

Jay-Z is arguably on top of the rap game. With his past five albums all achieving platinum-plus status, the Brooklyn, N.U., native looks to quiet anyone who dare challenge his reign with his latest set, The Blueprint. Such tracks as "The Ruler's Back" and "Takeover" are testament to this; both showcase a fearless Jay-Z, who, despite his crossover success, is still a highly credible MC. The Kanye West-produced "Takeover," which craftily employs a sample of The Doors' "Five to One," is perhaps Jay's best work to date. The Blueprint does have its requisite party tracks. Lead single "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)," which references the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," is already making serious noise at both urban and top 40 formats. Throughout The Blueprint (which features guest appearances from Q-Tip, Biz Markie, and Slick Rick, among others), Jay-Z deftly proves that while his celebrity status continues to rise, he remains firmly grounded to the street." - Billboard (9/22/01). Next to Reasonable Doubt, this is widely considered one of his best LPs, revisit it below and let me know if you agree? The production from Kanye West, Bink!, Eminem and (especially) Just Blaze is incredible.

The article in Billboard and a pic from my IG are below...

September 10, 2020

DJ Boogie Boy "World Premier" (Mixtape, 1995)

Here's another dope mid-90s mix tape from DJ Boogie Boy! This one is entitled "World Premiere" and features lots of gems from Craig Mack, The Beatnuts, Artifacts, The Nonce, Black Moon, The Notorious B.I.G., Smif-n-Wessun, Black Sheep, Cella Dwellas, Mobb Deep, Common, Masta Ace, Big L, Nas, Gang Starr, Jeru The Damaja, O.C., Pete Rock & CL Smooth, King Just, Keith Murray, Redman, Nine, Showbiz & AG, Channel Live, and lots more. Props to DJ E-Freezy on the upload once again. 

September 09, 2020

Take It Personal Podcast "Diggin' In The Crates Episode"

Episode 71 of the Take It Personal podcast takes it back to the 90s with music from Shyheim, House of Pain, The Artifacts, Redman, Lord Finesse and Kool G. Rap. Plus, they dug deep in the obscure record crates with Private Investigators, Now Born Click, Da King & I, World Renown, Joe Sinistr and Hard 2 Obtain. At the break, Philaflava, Kevlar & DJ 360 share their thoughts on the new Nas album Kings Disease and discuss if DJ Premier still brings that heat. Dick Knickbocker returns with a game of name that tune, which will surely infuriate many of you playing along. Sit back, relax and enjoy the sounds of Take It Personal Radio. Stay tuned for their 1995 Tribute Trilogy series!

September 08, 2020

Big L "PreLifestylez" (1991-1995)

PreLifestylez is exactly what it sounds like... early demos, tracks, freestyles, radio appearances and other rarities from Big L's early catalog ahead of Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous. More specifically, 1991-1995. Released as a double-cassette, Gadc333 - whom I don't know much about, outside of being from Barcelona, Spain - also released the Big Pun "PreCapital" mix tape last year. I am certain more releases in his PreSeries are forthcoming. Until then, dig into the mix tape below via YouTube, and cop the cassettes if you can! L is one of the illest MCs ever! Rest In Peace, Big L.

September 08, 2020

Rub Radio "The Best Of Prince Paul" (Mix)

From Stetsasonic, Big Daddy Kane, 3rd Bass to Gravediggaz, Handsome Boy Modeling School, and Dr. Octagon, this tribute takes you through some of their favorites from the Doo Doo Man’s storied career. Plus you get to hear some rarities from MF Doom, a very young Jay-Z, and even Marvin Gaye! If you haven’t been listening to Prince Paul & Open Mike Eagle’s podcast, “What Had Happened Was,” in which Paul tells the stories of albums and groups he’s worked with throughout his career, we can’t recommend it more highly... dig into the archives for all the episodes. Props to Rub Radio for their excellent producer series, honoring another legend here. Check it out below...

September 07, 2020

Slick Rick "The Ruler's Storytelling" (Mixed by DJ Kaos)

The Ruler. MC Ricky D. Uncle Ricky. No matter the nickname, there is only one Slick Rick, the hip-hop legend whose great adventures might as well be etched in the side of rap's Mount Rushmore. The British-born, Bronx-raised titan remains hip-hop's original storyteller and one of its all-time innovators, who perfected the art of the narrative (along with the art of rocking a fur coat with a diamond-encrusted eyepatch). In a career that's spanned over three decades, Slick Rick's classics have been woven into the very fabric of hip-hop. Blended by DJ Kaos, this sprawling, 38-track mixtape features six unreleased, never-before-heard tracks, along with some of the artist's most acclaimed remixes and featured verses from collaborations with Missy Elliott, Mos Def, Raekwon and more. Originally released in June, exclusively on Audiomack. Salute to Slick Rick & DJ Kaos, dig in...

September 06, 2020

OC From NC & D.R.U.G.S Beats "Crown Royal" (Album Stream)

Crown Royal is the extremely soulful new collaborative project between OC From NC and D.R.U.G.S. Beats. This 12-track album just feels good! It features Maestra, Seb Zillner, Illp, Precyce, Politix, Jarren Benton, Prophecy, Lacy Haith, S.P.A.D.E., J Gunn, Jozeemo and Vanessa Ferguson. This is one of those projects you may arrive late to hear and ask your friends why nobody knew enough to put you on! Say less, this is your sign to stop and pay attention. Hit the tags for more from D.R.U.G.S...

September 05, 2020

Craig G "Fragile Ego" (EP Stream)

The Juice Crew MC drops off his brand new EP, Fragile Ego. With sharp cuts, solid production and introspective lyrics, Craig G releases probably the best project of his career, which is saying a lot as he came up back in the mid-80s. You can't count out a legend! Masta Ace is the only feature on the EP but he delivers on the title track. I hope that the media covers this release and celebrates a very fine offering from Craig G. "Do yourself a favor: stay away from the fake shit." Listen below...

September 04, 2020

Jazz Spastiks "Fly Fishing, Vol.6" (Mixtape)

Volume 6 in the Fly Fishing mix tape series from Chopped Herring Records. This mix was done by Jazz Spastiks and features tracks from 3rd I, Ill Bill, Big Sha, Arsonists, Kwest Tha Madd Ladd, A-Plus, Pos-Neg, TDK, Born God, Recognize Ali, Sick Lyrical Damager, Smoked Out Productions, L The Head Toucha, Hardcore Reps, KGB, Napoleon Da Legend, Custodian of Records, Yaggfu Front, Tuff Crew and more! Also available on limited edition cassettes, 150 copies only! Big up to Bill Lipitch.

September 03, 2020

Capone-N-Noreaga "Blood Money" (VHS, 2000)

Blood Money is a promotional VHS tape released by Capone-N-Noreaga in 2000 ahead of their sophomore release, The Reunion, on Tommy Boy. The 30-minute street reel features music videos for "Blood Money Part 3," "T.O.N.Y.," "L.A. L.A.," and "Closer," as well as behind the scenes interviews with Capone in jail, on video sets, MTV, and more. 20 years later, it's now more of a companion piece to their classic debut album, The War Report, from 1997. Dig into the tags/archives below for other promo materials, album samplers, reviews and more from the legendary Queens crew, Capone-N-Noreaga. Props, ReelBlack, for the video - watch it below. Respect to Capone, Nore, and DJ EFN.

September 02, 2020

DJ DS "Independence Day, Vol.3" (Mixtape)

Here's the third installment from DJ DS in his Independence Day series. Once again, the mix features independent, underground hip-hop tracks from the late 90s and early 2000s from various indie labels. Artists featured in Volume 3 include: Kukoo Da Baga Bonez, N.O.T.S. Click, Indellible MCs, Royal Flush, Choclair, Saukrates, Polyrhythm Addicts, J-Live, Krumbsnatcha, 7L & Esoteric, Company Flow, Big Kwam, Juggaknots, Eminem, Sir Menelik, E-Rule, Obscure Disorder, Mister Voodoo, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Afu-Ra, Finsta Bundy, Grap Luva, East Flatbush Project and more! Dig into the mix below...

September 02, 2020

R.I.P. Illustration by Mark 563

I did a post in 2017 covering an article in Vibe Magazine called Hip-Hop Heaven... it was originally published in 1999. I added to it an off-the-top-of-my-head list of names of artists (and influencers) that had since passed away... making note that it was incomplete and that I was naturally aware there would sadly be a lot more names to follow. Saying that sounds like common sense, because as we grow older, we lose more, right? But, am I the only one who feels like its happening at an alarming rate, and to people who should have had a lot more time left on this earth? Maybe every generation feels that way, or maybe our OGs lived at a time when life expectancy wasn't very long to begin with, I dunno. The illustration above is from Mark 563, whose coloring books you should support and covers many of our legends. I do my best to announce the passing and celebrate artists who have passed here on the site: some have been my dear friends; childhood heroes and cultural icons. R.I.P. to all those we've lost over the years. You can support Mark 563 HERE!

September 01, 2020

Wu-Tang Clan "Rewind: The Tape Deck 2010-2019" (Mix, 2019)

Another exclusive compilation-mix from HHIR: this one paying tribute to the Wu-Tang Clan (2010-2019). You'll hear group tracks, as well as feature verses and solo joints from all the crew members including Cappadonna, GZA, Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, U-God, Sun God, RZA, Raekwon, Killah Priest, and more. R.I.P. Ol' Dirty Bastard. Rewind The Tape and look back over some of HHIR's favorite joints from the last 10 years of the Wu Tang Clan. Dig in...